Air France- CDG-JFK Business Class Report- Service with a "Sourire"
Our last night in Paris was a memorable one- meeting a close friend in Le Marais for dinner and then watching the World Cup championship at a local bar. I was rooting for Spain, but it was interesting to see the 50/50 split of Spain/Dutch fans at each establishment- all of whom were getting along famously.
Anyway, the night was cut short because we stayed at the Sheraton at CDG, since our flight was at 10am and we didn't want to wake up early. Additionally, we got cash and points availability for the stay, so it was only $90 and 4,000 Starwood points - not a bad deal for a $220 hotel.
Check-in at CDG 2E was painless and security was minimal. We were leaving from the new axillary terminal at 2E which the check-in agent described "like Heathrow T5". Hardly. It was clean and there were your run-of-the-mill airport shops, but nothing high-end like T5.
We checked out the lounge, which was impeccable. Nicely stocked with breakfast munchies and many beverage choices and plenty of open seats with a computer lab. The club was huge- two identical halves on each sides of the check-in desk. Free wifi and a couple glasses of Perrier- we were ready to board and get back to NYC. Lounge pics:
The time came to board and we walked into the airy, windowed terminal to the very end, where we saw our 777-200 waiting for us.
Even though we flew over on the larger 777-300 aircraft, the in-flight seats were the exact same. I didn't find the slanted lie flat bed very comfortable to sleep in, however, I wasn't planning on getting any sleep on this flight so it wasn't going to be an issue.
We were seated in row 4, which is in the first mini-cabin in the Affaires cabin. Once again we walked by the Premiere (first class) seats and were jealous of their space. However, the flight crew was extremely friendly and welcomed us on board and helped us stow our bags and take our jackets. I've heard many horror stories about
Air France flight crews, but our experiences were all extemely positive. In fact, all of our Air France flight attendants went out of their way to make sure we were taken care of (more on that later).
The weather in Paris was rainy, so our flight was delayed an hour and 15 minutes to wait for connecting passengers. Once we were loaded up, we pushed back and quickly taxied for a smooth takeoff.
Once airborne, drinks were served and an amuse-bouche of salmon and peas was presented. Nuts were also passed out, but rather informally in a cardboard box.
I then took a chance to browse the menu and decide what I was in the mood for. This time, there were four entree choices:
1) Pan-seared veal chop with mushroom cream sauce, mashed potatoes with tumeric and hazelnuts, sauteed baby spinach (My partner's choice)
2) Duck a l'orange with buttered tagliatelli and sauteed mushrooms (my choice)
3) Grilled pollock fish with herb sauce, couscous vegetables and semolina with tumeric and raisins
4) Crisp vegetables- thyme potato crisp, fricassee of sun-dried tomatoes and zucchini, parmesan cheese
Lunch service was timely and drinks were replenished without asking. Afterwards I decided to try out the in-flight entertainment system, but soon noticed an issue- it was jammed. The flight attendant was apologetic and tried to reset it several times, but it kept sticking on the main menu. He then offered to move
us to a center row of 3 seats in the rear business class cabin. However, after being fully settled with our belongings stowed, I didn't really feel like moving. In fact, I took it as a sign to get get some writing done, so I politely declinedhis offer. He was still very apologetic and the head purser ended up coming over and giving me a 30 Euro gift certificate to be used on an Air France flight or in the Duty-Free- which I opted to use on a new Hermes cologne :-)
After several hours of work (fueled by multiple glasses of gourmet earl grey tea), it was almost time to land at JFK. The flight crew came
through with the pre-arrival snack, which was vegetables with curry and lemon, marinated salmon canape and savory tomato-almond macaroon with fresh fruit.
After the snack, we started flying down the eastern seaboard,
including, which gave me nice shots of Cape Cod.
Weather in NYC was dry and hot and landing was uneventful.
Luckily, we were off the plane first and customs was a breeze (even though both customs and immigrations officials had no idea what the Seychelles were).
Overall, this trip was even more show-stopping than expected- thanks to the 120,000 Delta Skymiles and 24,000 Starwood points that I used - otherwise I would have never been able to afford the flights- even in coach! If anything, I hope this inspires people that anything is possible with your points and that spending some time on a strategy, can pay off handsomely.